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Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. U-17 WNT 4, Korea Republic 2

U.S. U-17 WNT Quote Sheet

U.S. head coach Kazbek Tambi

On the match:
“I was really proud of the effort. The kids got a bit better with every game and culminating with their best game today so it was great to be able to play the best game in the World Cup quarterfinals.”

On Kristie Mewis’ goal:
“It was a fantastic shot. We told them that given the number shots from outside that have gotten in during in this tournament, that we had to get that into our game as well and Kristie hit a beauty. There was no better goal on the day. I’m as much of a fan of the game as a coach and that was a great goal.”

On getting better as a team through all four games:
“For us, we went in knowing that we wanted to try to keep the ball. We’ve struggled a little bit keeping the ball and maybe it was the pressure of these kids coming to a World Cup and maybe they’ve been a little off. But with each game they’ve gotten more composure and we wanted to get out there today and play some good soccer. Win or lose, let’s go out and play our best kind of soccer and today we definitely represented that and that’s why we were successful.”

On how the U.S. dominated the match:
“The kids were working hard. Again the key for us was that we were able to pass the ball very well, our speed of play was excellent and we got a lot of people involved in the attack from the middle and the flanks.”

On Courtney Verloo’s first goal and knocking in four:
“That first goal was big. It gave us a little bit relief and put us ahead in the game. We told our kids that we just need to keep playing good soccer and inevitably we were going to get more chances. We’ve gotten good chances in every game. Even the game we lost, we scored two goals. We just said keep playing and things will take care of themselves. I’m proud they kept their discipline over the 90 minutes.”

On facing Germany last January at the Future Stars Tournament in New Zealand:
“It helps that we played them in the Future Stars tournament, but that’s a far cry from the World Cup. We know that we played against them and played well, but that was several months ago. We’ve changed players, they changed players and we’ve probably both improved soccer-wise. Going into the game, we have the utmost respect for Germany and my hope is that we do our best and leave everything on the field.”

On the play of forwards Vicki DiMartino and Courtney Verloo:
“I thought both forwards were awesome and relentless in their effort in working with the ball and without the ball, constantly showing for our midfielders and defenders and being able to the move the ball. On top of that, on a defensive perspective, they put great pressure when (Korea) had the ball and maybe got them out of their game so they couldn’t connect as well out of the back. It was just an awesome job by both forwards.”

On the experience of the World Cup so far:
“Dealing with the pressure of the World Cup as 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds is not easy, but it’s been an awesome experience, it’s been wonderful. Win or lose every game we’ve taken away important issues for American soccer for our futures.”

On the importance of team defense:
“Our team defense was awesome. We preached to our team going into this match that our first priority was not taking any goals and shutting them down and inevitably we would get our goals. That’s been the case in every game. I felt we were a bit lax and maybe lacked focus in the first game against Japan, and all the credit goes to Japan as they played beautiful soccer and took it to us at times, but I think that experience and the experience of playing against France and Paraguay really brought out the best in our defense. We’ve learned a lot. We realize the importance of defensive organization is gigantic. And it’s got to be for 90 minutes…It can’t be a great 45 and then a so-so second 45. We saw England today in a match where at the tail-end of each half they scored a goal. Other than that, Japan was the stronger team. So we’ve learned a lot of important lessons for this age group. It’s been awesome.”

U.S. defender Cloee Colohan

On the match:
“I thought we played really well. We finally round our rhythm and once we scored the first goal it took a lot or pressure off and everyone just kind of calmed down. In the second half, I thought we still played pretty well. We had two lapses and let in two goals, which kind of made me nervous, but we all believed in each other and we knew we could pull through.”

On scoring four goals:
“A goal is a goal, but the ones we got today were awesome. I thought we did a great job on our finishing and we created a bunch of chances. We need to take this momentum through to the semifinal.”

On the USA’s defense:
“I thought the team defense was really good. We stayed tight and won most of the air balls. The only thing we struggled with was the two goals, so we need to clean that up and we’ll be fine.”

U.S. midfielder Olivia Klei

On the match:
“We finally played a game in a relaxed way and had fun out there. Many people were saying we were the underdog going into this game, but that helped us play a bit more free and flowing. We definitely worked hard in the game and the more we advance through the tournament, the more you learn that you can’t take any moment for granted. Look at what happened to Japan.”

U.S. defender Amber Brooks

On the match:
“We came out great. We got the first goal and that helped us settle in. We played our best game so far as far as possession, we had high intensity and got some great finishes. It was just a great game.”

On going into halftime leading 1-0:
“It’s always great going into the locker room with a lead. We came out into the second half with confidence.”

On facing Germany in the semifinal:
“We’ve played Germany a few times and they are a great opponent. It’s going to be a great game, but now we are just going to get some rest and enjoy this win.”

On getting the early goal off her header assist:
“A goal early always helps in terms of comfort level. I thought we played some really good soccer and showed what we were all about.”

On the defense:
“We gave up two goals, but I think it was our best defensive effort. We shut them down and they really didn’t get inside our 18 or get too many shots. We always strive for a clean sheet, but a win’s a win. So as long as we score more goals than them, it’s fine.”

U.S. midfielder Samantha Mewis

On the win:
“We’re learning here that it’s not how you start a tournament, it’s how you finish. Even though we lost the first game we’ve made it through to the semifinals and we’re all really excited. Today, all the butterflies were gone and we really started to play our game with short passes and keeping the ball.”

U.S. forward Courtney Verloo

On her first goal:
“It took a little bit of the pressure off, but we knew that we had to keep fighting for 90 minutes and that Korea was a great team, but it definitely helped us out.”

On the match:
“I definitely think this was the best performance for the team. We didn’t come out (to open the World Cup) as strongly as we would have liked, but we’ve gained our rhythm through the games and I think we’ll keep improving. We were connecting well and felt really good out there.”